There are people who sweep through our lives. Even if they are just passing through, they paint our experiences of them in sweet and lasting ways. For me, Taria Person has been one of those people.
I met she and her wife, Chanel, two years ago through poetry. Person and I were both performing as part of a collective of poets called The 5th Woman. During that time, Person shared a poem that both broke me and put me back together again. I was so moved, that I wept. That poem was called, Brick House, which she later published in her recent collection, Rainbow Elephants.
The magic in Person's poems is conjureless. Her flow carries the kind of ease and peace that people work their whole lives for. I look forward to the day when her work might be squeezed between the mouthfeel of Nztoke Shange's verses and the pigmented vignettes of Alice Walker's autobiographical sets. When I read or hear Person's poems, I feel allowed to see myself and say "welcome home".
Another of my favorite pieces in her book, Rainbow Elephants, is called The Essence of a Woman. Person writes of the internal and eternal parts of women that are meant to be celebrated. She writes,
"she died to be born again
giving birth to styles
spritzed up like a bow tie
an up do
perfect image of a statue
wearing haikus on her hips
(that's where the switch comes from)"
Years ago, I asked Person to share with me some piece of wisdom that might guide my writing process. She said to me, "Go outside. Take a walk. Be in nature. Let the poems come to you. Writing isn't hard. It's the listening that we have to get better at."
Today, Person goes by the stage moniker, The Realest Person. She is now based in Chicago, IL and may be found on Facebook and Instagram (below). To purchase a copy of her book, please contact her directly, here.